New Year’s Resolutions – Are you setting yourself up for failure?

New Year’s Resolutions – Are you setting yourself up for failure?

Gold clock with hexagon circular pattern.New Year’s resolutions have come to mean… life changes. This seems to be the acceptable norm. Those uncomfortable with the idea of dramatic change may shy away from making any resolutions at all, content to happily (or unhappily) plod along the familiar path.

Others may feel so emotionally charged during the holidays that ‘change’ becomes an overwhelming ‘must make it happen’ theme tune for when normal routines are resumed in the new year, and decisions are quickly jotted down for that all important, ‘clock strikes midnight’ moment.

Reflecting on the year that’s been can very often surface specific emotions, which may prompt us to feel the need to take giant leaps of faith at the start of a new year. When emotions are at their peak, which they invariably are at the tail end of a busy year, we opt for life-transforming goals, not small adjustments and tweaks. Is something really a resolution if it’s ‘not that big a deal’ anyway?

But then again, on the flip side of things, should we really be aiming so high? And if you’re truly honest with yourself, do you really believe that you can achieve what you’re so ‘set’ on accomplishing? Really? Is this perhaps why our goals fall off the wagon at some point?

We all say it when we or others around us go through times of change ... 'One step at a time'… On some level we inherently know that grand plans or ‘break the mould’ life changes are likely to be more successful when achieved in stages.

So, when wanting to implement change in our own lives, and especially so as another year draws to a close, why then do we aim for the stars when it comes to New Year's resolutions?

New years resolutions written in notebook - eat healthy, lose weight and join a gym.

Some of the most common resolutions are adopting healthier eating behaviours (clean up that diet!), exercising more, losing weight, ditching unhealthy habits like alcohol consumption and smoking (or at least reducing the number of ciggie breaks you take in a day), saving more, and lately, ‘unplugging’ from the ‘digital world’ at times when you should not be detached from the ‘the real one’, all seem to be high on the list of… life changes.

Are these life changes entirely reasonable? Is this perhaps why the excitement and euphoria of making goal decisions soon plummet within days, weeks or even months? Do we set ourselves up for a psychological and emotional cliff edge encounter?

The key is actually in how you set your goals, not necessarily the ‘grandness’ of the goal itself. Your starting block is a very important factor when making the decision to implement a change, no matter how great or small its impact on your life may turn out to be.

Here we narrow down just how to make your New Year’s resolutions by setting off on the right foot, as well as help you understand the very real impact of setting up self-change expectations.

NEXT Where do psychologists think we’re going wrong?

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